« Previous | Main | Next »

The story of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, on Radio 4

Post categories:

Paul Murphy Paul Murphy 09:30, Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin

The Afternoon Play, Titanium, marks the 50th anniversary of Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's first manned spaceflight. The story is told through the eyes of Gagarin's training partner Gherman Titov, the man who so nearly could have been the first man into space.

Peter Snow brings the events around Gagarin's historic flight to life through the pages of the Daily Telegraph for April 13th 1961 in Random Edition.

Paul Murphy is acting editor of the Radio 4 blog.

  • Listen to Titamium at 14:15 today and for seven days after that on the on the Radio 4 website
  • George Carey's documentary Knocking on Heaven's Door tells the bizarre story and motivation behind the Russian space programme. You can see it on BBC Four this week
  • Caption info image: "12 Apr 1961: RUSSIA - APRIL 12: Portrait of Yuri GAGARIN before his departure in the spaceship VOSTOK 1 for the first manned flight to space."
  • Elisabeth Mahoney's Guardian radio review of Random Edition praises the programme's use of archive as "neat and clever" and presenter Peter Snow's obvious enthusiasm for the subject.
  • The cosmonaut training centre outside Moscow where Major Gagarin prepared for his flight is still in use today and featured in Steve Rosenberg's report this morning. Listen to Gagarin's glory remembered on the Today website.


  • Comment number 1.

    Really enjoyed the play. The sound production was particularly good.

    Btw, a few ex-messageboarders are wondering (in another place) what the incidental music is, running at several places throughout the piece, but a good sample passage can be found starting at 15:50 in.


  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Russ,
    I will find out about the music and let you know,

  • Comment number 3.

    I really enjoyed this play and the incidental music added to the atmosphere - do you know what the incidental music is?

  • Comment number 4.

    2. At 10:33am 14th Apr 2011, Paul Murphy wrote:
    'Hi Russ,
    I will find out about the music and let you know,

    But evidently not any time soon...

    (I'm one of those 'ex-messageboarders)

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Russ, Kettyjoy and Joe K,
    Thank you for your patience. The programme files hadn't been filed as yet and people were on leave when I made the initial enquiry so it wasn't as straightforward to get the music details as I had thought. Eleri, who worked on the play has very kindly sent me details of the music used in the show:

    Fur Alina - Rabinovitch (Album ‘Avante Garde Music from the Ex-Soviet Union’)

    Vladimir’s Blues - Max Richter (Album ‘Blue Notebooks’) - used at beginning of play

    Infra 1 - Max Richter (Album ‘Infra’)

    Journey 2 - Max Richter (Album ‘Infra’)

    Journey 3 - Max Richter (Album ‘Infra’)

    An Ending (Ascent) - Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois (Album ‘Apollo Landscapes and Atmospheres’) - used at end.

  • Comment number 6.

    Thanks, Paul. I recognised the Eno/Lanois piece when listening to the play, but the Richter pieces were all new to me, and a good find.


  • Comment number 7.

    Thank you Paul for finding the music details - Kettyjoy


More from this blog...


These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.